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Rugby beats football in attendance battle as 21,000 more fans opt for Scotland’s World Cup send-off

Nearly 21,000 more fans packed into BT Murrayfield to give Gregor Townsend’s Scotland side a rousing send-off ahead of the Rugby World Cup than witnessed a must-win Euro 2020 qualifier for the national football team at Hampden Park.

Just 32,433 fans turned up at the 52,000-capacity stadium in Glasgow to see Steve Clarke’s side go down 2-1 to Stanislav Cherchesov’s Russia, while 53,406 were at the Capital arena for the visit of Georgia.

The rugby attendance was some way short of Murrayfield’s 67,144 capacity but this was essentially a friendly match, as Scotland played their fourth and final World Cup warm-up game before jetting off to Japan.

Scotland eventually ran out 36-9 winners against a dogged Georgia side, but Townsend will be sweating over the fitness of five players.

Flanker Jamie Ritchie was sent to hospital; full-back Blair Kinghorn and lock Ben Toolis suffered head knocks, and second-row Jonny Gray was withdrawn as a precautionary measure at half-time after feeling tightness in the hamstring which has kept him out of the first three matches in the warm-up series. No 8 Blade Thomson came off later in the game in similar circumstances.

The Scottish FA were still attempting to shift tickets for the Group I clash until two hours before kick-off.

Scotland have now lost three of their opening five Euro 2020 qualifiers, including a shock 3-0 reversal to Kazakhstan in Nursultan.

Steve Clarke is adamant that the qualifying campaign shouldn’t be written off just yet, but admits Scotland need to get a result in Belgium.

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